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selkie

Track & Field: Insert Latest Scandal here

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4 hours ago, FrenchCheese said:

But that is exactly what the US postal and Lance Armstrong was doing (or is accused of doing) too in his time. The only difference is that he focused on one sport and had the UCI in his pocket when Russian only had the Russian doping agency with them.  And I think during the 90s and the Lance Armstrong era it may not have been a "state-sanctioned" doping system but every rider doing the Tour de France was doing a team approved doping program.

Also US Postal was a team sponsor rather than team owner. They later sued Armstrong for misrepresenting himself over the concealed doping, claiming he didn't hold up his end of the sponsorship agreement. (The suit was later dismissed.)

The UCI ended up declaring 'no winner' for the years when Armstrong had been first in the GC because so many of the guys in the top ten of the GC or that era ended up serving drug suspensions themselves and it didn't really improve things to let the title roll down to a Contador, Ulrich, Hamilton, or Vinkourov when they were probably not clean that year either. 

It took sponsor pressure and sponsor abandonment of teams to get the UCI to make strides in cleaning up its act. I do think the under-30s are a significantly cleaner population than the older guys in the peleton. 

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@selkie I agree with you. At that time the best rider was the one with the best doping program. My point was even if what Russia did is "state approved" I do not believe it is that different from what we know some French, German or American people have already done. 

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I don't see much difference between 'state sanctioned'(Russians) and 'conveniently running out of money so we can't do any drug testing in the build up for the Olympics'(US) as I have heard happened before Atlanta. Didn't they mention something along those lines happening before LA in 9.79* as well?

Edited by galaxygirl76
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2 hours ago, kili said:

While I think she has been treated badly, the pedantic in me has to point out that I don't think Caster's haters were proven wrong with her winning the race. Isn't it the haters contention that her high levels of natural testosterone make her winning the gold a foregone conclusion? In this case, both the fans and detractors can claim victory.  

Congratulations to Caster. There is more to winning a race than having extra testosterone and she is a great athlete.

So I guess this begs the question, if another woman wanted to inject herself with testosterone to a level equal to that found in Semenya's blood, would that woman get banned?  I do think that unusually high levels of testosterone in a woman is a significant advantage.  One of the main physiological differences between men and women is that men naturally produce testosterone, which generally as a whole helps make men stronger than women.  Semenya has internal testicles.  So Semenya has the external physical characteristics of a woman, but has the internal physical characteristics of a man.  I think it's an uneven playing field.  Before, when she had to take testosterone suppressing drugs to get her testosterone levels below an accepted limit in a woman, her times were average and she was competitive but not unbelievably so.  Then the IAAF removed the rule and said she didn't have to take the suppression, and her times noticeably improved and now she is unstoppable.

This doesn't strike me as fair, there should at least be some semblance of a level field, and other women don't stand a chance.  Frankly, I think the IAAF is playing into political correctness.  I think they lifted the restriction because they didn't want to appear intolerant in today's society.  A friend of mine applied for a job the other day and he was asked to select his gender.  The choices were "male", "female", "transgender man", "transgender woman", "gender queer", "my gender is not listed here", and "decline to self-identify".  I think it's good that society is becoming more accepting of everyone.  But I think in sport there needs to be distinctions in order to make things fair for all.

Semenya herself is being done no favours by any of this.  Sure, she won the gold medal, but in the eyes of many, people will say she only won because of her internal testicles.  Wouldn't it be better for her if she agreed to take the testosterone inhibitors, levelled the playing field, and still beat everyone?  

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  Make room on the Chantae Lowe Love Train for me! She's both a great athlete and a great person, as shown by her comforting teammate/competitor Vashti Cunningham when she was eliminated and and congratulating Ruth Baetia when she won, which made Lowe's own loss even worse. At the risk of sounding corny, as far as I'm concerned, Lowe's a winner, with or without a medal. On another note, Tianna McPherson, Lowe's fellow teammate, the one with the tats, is fierce, all 5'4'' of her. 

  Ashton Eaton is amazing. His second Gold medal in the Decathalon in a row proves that he's not just another pretty everything. His wife, Brienne, the Heptathalon Bronze medal winner, is not only amazing in her own right, given her husband, she's also lucky-and so is he.

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While I think that [Caster] has been treated badly, the pedantic in me has to point out that I don't think that Caster's haters were proven wrong with her winning the race. Isn't the hater's contention that her high levels of natural testosterone make her winning the gold a foregone conclusion? In this case, the fans and detractors can claim victory. 

Congratulations to Caster. There is more to winning a race than having extra testosterone and she is a great athlete.

 I respsectfully disagree, re the first part. For one thing, I don't believe in giving bullies props for a winner's victory and IMO that's what most of Caster's haters are-bullies, trashing her looks and her talents because of something that's not her fault. I believe that credit should go to those who build the winner up, not those who try to tear them down.

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The trouble with Caster Semenya is that people are treating it as a case of equality rights, acceptance and political correctness, rather than a case of sporting fairness.

The fact is, she has an advantage that no other athlete out there has, and it can't be denied. The issue of her gender didn't arise just because she was beating everyone, it arose because she was beating everyone, and looked far more androgynous than all her opponents. And that's not 'bashing her looks' or 'bullying', it's a simple statement saying that her body and facial features have very masculine characteristics and, when combined with her conspicuous success, caused people to wonder. People who were later proved to have a valid point. So sneering remarks about people being unhappy that she doesn't adhere to our standards of beauty or that people are mean spirited are really quite wide of the mark. That's not what it's about, it's about the fact that she has genetic advantages that no other woman in the field can hope to replicate.

Now if people want to argue that it's fine for her to have those advantages because they're natural, then okay. Compare it to height or leg length or arm length of you like. But the uncomfortable fact remains that the systematic doping practices of the 1970s and 80s by certain countries were done with the intention of, amongst other things, replicating what Semenya has naturally, because they believed that it would give them an advantage.

Those who don't think heightened testosterone in women can have a beneficial effect in their athletic performances? Then why the hell are East Germany so lambasted and criticised for dosing their women up to the point that Andreas Krieger, formerly Heidi Krieger, testified that the drugs he was given from the age of 16 contributed to his gender dysphoria and eventual sex change? Some of the world records set by East German and Eastern European women still stand to this day, so outlandish were they.

There are some that have stood for over thirty years, that no one has ever managed to even get close to. I include Florence Griffith Joyner in that too, by the way. But if Ben Johnson hadn't been caught in 1988, he'd have set a world record that would have stood until Tim Montgomery (also banned for doping) broke it in 2002. That's what we're talking about here. One of these longstanding world records is in Semenya's own event, the 800m, which is why I don't lend much credence to the defence that she's not even broken the world record, so how can she be at such an advantage. Doping and testosterone injections did improve the athletic abilities of women markedly, in ways that even modern sports science is struggling to replicate.

So what am I saying with all this? Simply that it's not a case of nasty bigots being mean to Semenya because she's different. Yes, some are, and those people need to shut up, but don't tar everyone with the same brush. It's far more complicated than that, and it's an issue that is not going to have a satisfactory answer any time soon.

Edited by Danny Franks
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1 hour ago, blackwing said:

 

This doesn't strike me as fair, there should at least be some semblance of a level field, and other women don't stand a chance.  Frankly, I think the IAAF is playing into political correctness.  I think they lifted the restriction because they didn't want to appear intolerant in today's society.  A friend of mine applied for a job the other day and he was asked to select his gender.  The choices were "male", "female", "transgender man", "transgender woman", "gender queer", "my gender is not listed here", and "decline to self-identify".  I think it's good that society is becoming more accepting of everyone.  But I think in sport there needs to be distinctions in order to make things fair for all.

 

It wasn't the IAAF that was playing political correctness, it was the Court of Arbitration in Sport. The gender test (which Semenya actulally 'flunked' and the South Africans covered up) in 2009 was an obtrusive and ugly thing where they send you to a gynocologist to determine if you are female for the purposes of competition. This was replaced somewhere around 2010 with the guidelines for natural testosterone, which was seen as a less awful was of verification that required a simple blood/urine test.

Semenya took suppressors for a few years, appealed to CAS saying that there was no scientific proof that her natural high testosterone levels and CAS agreed with her legal team. The IAAF, caught up in eight other clusterfucks was caught off guard, and was given a certain amount of time to product evidence (I want to say two years) and CAS said that Semenya was allowed to run as a woman unmedicated until the IAAF produced scientific studies showing she had an unaccpetable advntage. Whether those studies actually exist or whether they can be commissioned while Seb Coe and company are still picking up the pieces from the Diack-Russia mess is all unknown.

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Are there actually any rules left to determine who can compete in the female events? Every rule they've tried has been overruled or deemed demeaning. Physical inspections? Dropped for being demeaning. Chromosome testing? Successfully overturned for being discriminatory against those with chromosome issues. Testosterone levels? Court says nope. Basically, if you want to compete as a female athlete, you can.

If you don't think people will just start to do that to win a medal, you aren't considering that Lance Armstrong lost a testicle to cancer which may have been caused by all the drugs he was taking and it did not stop him from doping for years more. People have taken the subway to win a marathon. People have pretended to have disabilities to compete in the Paralympics! The list goes on. 

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On ‎08‎/‎22‎/‎2016 at 4:31 PM, MaKaM said:

I thought NBC was actually very low-key in their mentioning that it is a potential future issue but that she is fine competing in the games. They even mentioned how terrible the previous handling of her situation was and how things that should have been private, weren't. But they had to mention it because anyone who knows her story or just tunes in can see the difference in physiology between her (and, honestly, Wambui) compared to the other women in the final. It is believed (but not confirmed) that while the IAAF had a limit on the testosterone in your blood to be considered for women's competition, she was on suppressors and her results were more in line with the rest of the field. Since those requirements were overturned, her times have significantly improved. While everyone has different advantages and disadvantages due to their physiology and biology, and working to utilize or overcome them is the nature of sport, it is an issue that requires further discussion as our understanding of the fluidity of gender increases.

I agree that NBC's commentators handled the subject very well, far, far better than the South African authorities did.  NBC certainly couldn't avoid the situation, but they could've exploited it or made light of it, and, to their credit, they treated the subject with the sensitivity it deserved.

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I watched 9.79* and found Ben Johnson's story so sad.  The man keeps his medals in a cardboard box in the basement.  And Carl Lewis.  ::shaking my head::  The narrator talked about HGH having an effect on dopers' mouths/jaws to the point where some had braces, and the next shot was of Carl Lewis wearing a retainer....

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Semenya took suppressors for a few years, appealed to CAS saying that there was no scientific proof that her natural high testosterone levels and CAS agreed with her legal team. The IAAF, caught up in eight other clusterfucks was caught off guard, and was given a certain amount of time to product evidence (I want to say two years) and CAS said that Semenya was allowed to run as a woman unmedicated until the IAAF produced scientific studies showing she had an unaccpetable advntage.

It was Dutee Chand who won the ability to compete without suppressors. Semenya played ball, took them, and had her times suffer. FWIW, as far as I know the internal testes rumor about Semenya has never been officially confirmed. IMHO, everything about Semenya is speculative other than that she naturally produces testosterone outside of the formerly accepted range for female athletes, took medicine that lowered her testosterone range, now doesn't, and that she runs meaningfully faster with the testosterone than without. 

I find the issue complicated, and I think there's a lot of well-meaning oversimplification on both sides. I've said earlier that I was more or less a fan of the hyperandrogenism definition, and I still am. It seems like a pretty good balance between fairness, inclusiveness, and respect for the complexity of defining gender.

Chand's argument was partially that she was really poor and her life would be ruined if she was barred from competition (which is an argument that's also been made about Semenya). While I think this was true and tragic, it's neither a scientific nor philosophical argument about gender. I also think there's a relatively simple way to minimize impact on affected athletes, which is to blood test promising female athletes for excessive testosterone levels as soon as they're qualifying to compete at national competitions. The current policies have a creepy, invasive physical component (to identify androgen-insensitive women whose bodies can't use testosterone), but presumably there's a less creepy or invasive way to identify androgen-insensitivity. I do think it's good for the athletes to have medical examinations to determine the cause of their testosterone production. Many of them may be infertile, and others may have risk factors for specific cancers. 

However, the other component of Chand's argument was that there is not strong scientific evidence that testosterone actually provides a physical advantage, and from everything I've been able to find, this is actually (and counter-intuitively) true. Cismen clearly have a biological strength advantage, but how they get it seems to be less simple than that testosterone gives it to them.

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